A Survival Guide for Leaders

A Survival Guide for Leaders

Great authors always have a strong educational and experiential background that assists their studies and research of the topic of interest. Therefore, the education background often influences the credibility, reliability, and validity of the sources of their sources. Research shows that Ronald Heifetz one of the authors of this publication is one of the Cofounders of the Center for Public Leadership and is the King Hussein Bin Talal Senior Lecturer in Public Leadership at Havard Kennedy School. Heifetz wrote several books and publications over the years with his first book on Leadership without easy answers back in 1994 becoming one of the best-selling books of all times. On the other hand, Marty Linsky the Co-author of the publication is a Cofounder of the CLA and has taught at Harvard Kennedy School for 25 years (Heifetz & Linsky, 2017). Furthermore, Linsky served as the chief secretary and counselor to Massachusetts governor bile weld as well as the secretary general of the Havard Institute of Politics. He is a graduate of William College and the Havard Law School. From their experience and education, the authors have gathered enough knowledge and skills to write an article on leadership to help other managers and leaders to overcome leadership challenges in their companies.

What did you learn about change management?

According to the author, it is not always smooth and easy to lead and manage change in an organization as other members of an organization can attempt to take the leader out. Most of the times when a management decision goes wrong or falls short of expectation, those in power are expected to take the hit and take the blame for the failed strategy. Leadership change in any organization irrespective of the size substantially involves to demand or convince the members of a workforce to give up things that they hold to dearly such as daily habits, loyalties or even the way of thinking (Kotter, 2011). If the other members of the team do not like what a leader is about to introduce to an organization they may tempt to sabotage every effort that they put in place.

The authors go on to state that there are two major forms of organization transformation that are common among many leaders and they include adaptive change and technical change. Unlike the technical change which can be solved through the application of technical know-how, adaptive change takes more than mere experience and technical know-how considering that it requires all members of a workforce in the entire entity to alter their ways and beliefs. Notably, adaptive change can be solved through technical know-how but in the short-run. The authors go on to give leaders and readers a two-part strategy which can be used to silence and protect oneself from people who try to undercut them or sabotage their efforts. The first step focuses being open-minded, offering tactical advice regarding the relationship between an individual and the organization in which they work for as well as the people in the organization (Kotter, 2011). The second step focuses on personal vulnerability and own human needs that can be exploited by enemies. Therefore, the second part of the strategy helps an individual from bringing themselves down.

Related: Tipping Point Leadership

To overcome resistance in an organization, the organizational leaders are required to:

  1. Operate in and above the fray – this technique helps to maintain perspectives in the midst of action which is crucial to the leader as he or she attempts to minimize resistance in a company. Therefore, a transformational leader needs to keep his head high in the middle of the storm to lead his people in the right direction.

  2. Court the uncommitted – this technique involves gathering support of those members of the workforce who are not affiliated with any camp. Therefore, a good leader will attempt to lure them to his side and support his ambitions.

  3. Cook the conflict – this involves the efforts of the leader to manage people’s passionate differences to minimize their destructive potential.

  4. Place the work where it belongs – leaders should develop the urge to resist the temptation to provide every solution to organizational problems and force people to work for the solutions.

  5. A good leader should always manage his or her hunger – leader should not let hunger to undermine their capacities to work and act wisely and purposely.

How did ethics/values/faith play a role?

The self-belief of the leader and the faith that he or she can make it despite the resistance in his or her organizational plays a major role in successfully bringing adaptive changes in an organization. Additionally, the code of conduct put in place by the organization helps to guide the behavior of the leader which emulated and copied by his or her followers to achieve organizational goals and objectives (Jerome & Powell, 2016). The faith and belief that the employees can manage to find solutions on their own help to boost the confidence of the members of the workforce.

How can you apply what you learned to change initiatives?

From the knowledge obtained from the publication, I can differentiate between a technical and adaptive change in an organization. Moreover, through the identification of the nature and type of change needed in an organization, I can design an appropriate change strategy to ensure that all my efforts and my dreams are achieved.


Heifetz, R. A., & Linsky, M. (2017). Leadership on the line: Staying alive through the dangers of leading.

Jerome, B., & Powell, C. (2016). The Disposable visionary: A survival guide for change agents.

Kotter, J. P. (2011). HBR’s 10 must reads on change management. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

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